How to Find Confidence in a Job Interview

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Even for those who have natural confidence, job interviews are stressful. A CareerBuilder survey conducted in December 2015 revealed that 50 percent of employers know within the first five minutes if a candidate is a good fit for a position. While that’s an intimidating number, you can put yourself in check and push through any interview with a few self-esteem boosts.

Having the ability to walk into an interviewer’s office feeling confident about who you are and why you’re right for this position is important, but what happens when those unexpected confidence blows happen during the meeting? Here are a few confidence boosters to help you brush off those interview jitters:

You look good, you feel good

First things first, you need to go into the interview feeling confident. This will help with any pre-interview jitters and bring your confidence up when dealing with unexpected mishaps during. Looking good doesn’t mean you need to be in People’s “Best Dressed” edition, but make sure the way you dress is sending the message you want to get across.

So, what happens when you walk into your interview like Tyra Banks feeling good about yourself and all the employees are dressed in jeans and T-shirts? Feeling over, or underdressed, can affect your confidence, but don’t forget that you dressed to get the job and you’re looking good.

Confidence in knowing the company

Knowing every question an interviewer is going to ask is an impossible task, so finding ways to recover when you’re asked a question you don’t know the answer to is important. Taking extra steps to do your homework on the company before you walk through their doors will make you prepared to answer, and ask, all kinds of questions.

Unfortunately, there will be moments when you don’t immediately know the answer. Practice “the pause.” This is simply taking a moment to think about everything you’ve learned about the company and apply that to your response without rushing to answer. While it’s natural to want to answer immediately, taking this time to compose yourself and give this kind of insight will have employers recognizing how prepared and knowledgeable you are.

Stand up straight

A study by The University of Auckland found having better posture can help you maintain self-esteem which in turn keeps a positive attitude. Pull yourself upright for a necessary confidence boost and answer to the best of your ability.

There’s nothing worse than having and out-of-body experience when an employer asks you a question and you have no idea how to answer. So while taking a moment to think through your response, be mindful of your posture.

Use power words

Everything seems to be going fine in the interview as you say hello, sit down, and the interviewer begins. Then the questions begin to flow: “What are some of your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Why do you think you would be a good fit?” You find yourself mumbling something about doing well on a project and finding new leads for your company.

Having a list of “power words” to describe your many talents will help pull you out of this sticky situation. Describe your talents with strong actions verbs like administered, increased, and oversaw to bring back that fighting courage you came in with.

Say cheese

It seems like making sure you’re presenting your happiest self in an interview is common sense, but some of us wear our emotions on our sleeves. It’s not easy to smile through such a nerve-racking process, but confidence and positive attitudes go hand-in-hand.

A Millennial Branding survey showed that 84 percent of companies are looking for candidates with positive attitudes. Some questions are particularly anxiety worthy, for example: “When was a time you made a mistake in a job?” None of us want to focus on a time when we screwed up, but putting a smile on your face as you speak about a negative experience will conquer that nagging doubt and help you focus on the positive you learned from the situation.

What techniques have brought your confidence level back up during an interview? Share in the comments!

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution that gives job seekers complete control over their job search. It's available for individual users, university and military career services centers, libraries, and corporations seeking to offer outplacement assistance to former employees. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.